Money Drunk Money Sober: 10 Insights into my financial behavior

For this time period, I am working through Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan’s book Money Drunk, Money Sober before I work through the Prosperous Heart. The following blog entries are in response to prompts and experiences from the book. I see this as an extension of my Artist’s Way work. Some of my entries are jarring and highly personal – any program of sobriety and self-improvement demands admitting dysfunction both personally and in family, and it also calls to admit some painful truths. While not everything I work on appears here, a number of realities do. I have a genuine body of work thanks to my work on the Artist’s Way program, and I can’t ignore the changes the continual commitment has brought about. Because of that, I also can’t ignore what going further into the harder aspects of the program – like facing money issues – has the potential to improve.

  1. I give gifts too much. It goes all the way back to my mother actively encouraging me to use money gifted me for my birthday for Christmas present money to buy gifts for the rest of my family. Not really an insight, but reality to face: my mother is and was a selfish jerk. I think she was/is only that way when it comes to me, thus inducing more guilt when I state for a fact, that my experience with her is that she is a selfish jerk.
  2. It is not my material kindnesses that are the most appreciated.
  3. I overspend on food.
  4. Food serves as a form of entertainment for me. This is partly because it’s entrenched in US culture, but also traces back to lazy parenting.
  5. Assertiveness is a key financial management skill. women are especially discouraged from being assertive, and we are also literally paying for buying into that crap.
  6. My family has always had problematic attitudes where I’m concerned, but even moreso as I became more financially independent. It’s possible all those attempts to keep me from earning or saving money were pre-meditated because me having money meant me having more choices – and my mother had made some choices for me, while I had other choices I had made for myself that were NOT those choices. By refusing to talk about those choices, my mother was hoping not to be held accountable for abusing me, because it would be “my idea” to do what she wanted/submit to her abuse. (She often said she got people to “think it was their idea.” Honesty was rarely held up as the “right” way to handle things, because honestly led to unpleasantness.)
  7. My family fears financial stability and sobriety, and they wanted me to fear it, too.
  8. I don’t know what the “grand plan” was for me, but since I am so driven, it was expected I’d be an earner no matter how they tried to hobble me. I think they had made plans to keep me spending on them instead of enriching myself.
  9. Most of my emotional issues come out in my spending behavior.
  10. The best gift I can give myself is to be less generous with others.